A cowboy’s cowboy passed from this earth, September 22, 2017. Alto “Bud” Adams, Jr., surrounded by his family, died peacefully at his home on Adams Ranch in Ft. Pierce, Florida.

Mr. Bud was born in Ft. Pierce April 4, 1926. For the next 91 years he lived a life everyone could envy, but only a few could handle. A Christian man, he taught his family and friends by example. He always had a firm handshake, and his word was his bond. His love for the outdoors, especially the Florida prairies and woodlands, were evident in not only his holistic approach to land management, but also his talent for photography. Mr. Bud could find God’s beauty in plants, animals and people, and was able to capture these images on film for the rest of us to enjoy. We are all grateful for his generosity and grace.

Bud traveled to Tallahassee and attended Leon High School while his father served on the Florida Supreme Court. At 18, he joined the US Navy at the end of WWII, and was part of our greatest generation. He graduated from the University of Florida. While a career in law or politics could have been in his future, Bud chose the life of a cowboy. He had fond memories of working alongside many of the founding families of modern day Florida, as well as of the many Seminole Indians he befriended as a young man in the days before fences. His father Judge Alto Adams made him a partner in the ranch in 1937 and Bud has run the ranch since 1948.

Bud was a proud member of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, serving as President in 1958. For the last 59 years he had been a fixture at most every gathering of past-FCA Presidents, always offering kind advice to upcoming FCA leadership.

There are many things Bud was responsible for that will be around for generations to come. One is the Braford breed of cattle. Adams Ranch in Ft. Pierce is home to the foundation herd of this hearty breed. 5/8 Hereford and 3/8 Brahman, these red cattle quickly showed tolerance to Florida’s tropical climate, and flourished in the heat and rain. Mr. Bud was proud to say that if you bought one of his bred cattle, she would take care of the calf with no help needed from anyone. He was a founding member of the United Braford Breeders Association, located in Tyler, Texas.

Another monument to Bud’s life in agriculture is the land he bought, developed, managed and cared for. He was a pioneering advocate of conserving and protecting this land for future generations. His efforts and leadership have been awarded nationally. More importantly, when other landowners saw Bud endorsing and leading these conservation efforts, they were drawn to do the same through his trustworthy and honorable reputation. Bud has written three books describing his career as a rancher and steward of Florida lands.

Mr. Bud was genuinely appreciative of his liberty and freedoms:

May 2003

To my family and friends,

                  At my death I wish a simple ceremony followed by cremation. I do not wish a fancy eulogy. By now you know me for better or worse.

                  A message to my family and friends-

                  “There is a time to live and a time to die.”

I want you to know that you have made my life wonderful.


                  I have been given everything + much more than I ever desired. I have loved my family and friends. I have enjoyed my cows, horses and dogs. I have lived on the most beautiful land, in a good climate, in a favored state that is a part of the greatest and freest nation on earth.

                  I have no regrets.

                                                   Bud Adams


Bud leaves behind his wife of 67 years, the former Dorothy Snively. As Ms. Dot’s health took a turn for the worse with a battle with Alzheimer’s disease 12 years ago, Bud was home with her daily, personally feeding her and showering her with love that never wavered or faltered through the time of his passing. He and Ms. Dot raised three sons: Alto Lee III. (Cindy), Michael (Rachael), and Robert (Cindee). He also leaves behind 14 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.

Those of us fortunate enough to know Mr. Bud are most grateful for his time spent with us. While our hearts are heavy, we are at peace knowing Mr. Bud’s Christian faith. One week prior to his passing, Mr. Bud wrote the following for his family:


“O” God

                  I thank you for my wife. She is beautiful and kind. She has given me beautiful children and they keep giving me more. They are not only beautiful, but they are kind and good.

                  Thank you for giving me land to live on and giving me cattle.

Everything that I have wished for has been given.

                 “The Lord is great.
His mercy is everlasting and his truth lasts forever.
Surely his mercy shall provide and I shall dwell in the
house of the Lord forever.”


                                                                                          This I believe.

                                                                                                                   Bud Adams


The family will have a Celebration of Life for Mr. Bud at Adams Ranch Headquarters, 26003 Orange Avenue, Ft. Pierce, FL 34945, on Friday, September 29th, from 3:00 – 5:00 pm. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made in his memory to the Treasure Coast Hospice at 1201 SE Indian Street, Stuart, FL 34997; and the Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation at 800 Shakerag Road, Kissimmee, FL 34744.